1 d4 Beat the Guerrillas! by Valeri Bronznik (New in Chess). 272 pages. www.newinchess.com.
When a 1 d4 player is confronted with a sideline their most difficult problem is to get the balance between attack and defence right. Play too passively, Black equalises and is on familiar ground in the subsequent middlegame.Try to refute a sideline and you run the risk of overextending. Sidelines have survived for a reason; most are basically sound – just unfashionable. The author understands this and treats these defences on their merits. A lot of times he ends up saying, respect this defence, don’t try to refute it. The author presents the reader with a well thought out repertoire on how to meet 19 obscure / annoying Black sidelines. He recommends 2 c4 after either 1…d5 or 1…Nf6 by Black and suggests sound ways to deal with them. The sidelines are covered in varying depth , from 40 pages on the English Defence, 25 pages on the Delayed Stonewall, to 7 pages on the Dutch Benoni – 1 d4 c5 2 d5 f5.The author treats the opening respectfully, but even so some of the sidelines come off very badly, the Englund Gambit is dismissed as unsound ,and the Snake Benoni and the Woozle are both clearly struggling. 1…Nc6 also starts to look distinctly dubious after the recommended 2 d5 Ne5 3 e4 e6 4 dxe6 fxe6 5 Nc3. This reviewer has tried ten of these sidelines, but looking at their coverage by Bronznik there are a few of them I will not be risking again. This book will appeal to all 1 d4 players, even those who habitually prefer 2 Nf3 to 2 c4. Devotees of the English Opening might also find lines to whet their appetite.